State and regional realtors associations are supporting the local coalition opposing recently imposed fees on New Britain landlords.
“We’ve really never supported taxation on a particular group,” said Carol Nevrivy, president of the Midstate Realtors Association which represents more than 500 realtors in central Connecticut. “If additional taxation is required we believe it should be broad-based. We support the effort to challenge the fees in court.”
One of 21 regional realtors associations in Connecticut, Midstate’s opposition to the fees is joined by the state-wide Connecticut Realtors Association. The realtors associations have provided financial support to the legal challenge of the ordinance imposing the fees as well as support from the organization’s lobbyist Tim Calnen.
“Many of our members have strong ties in New Britain. We are especially concerned with measures that impede property ownership. We have our own staff lobbyist who is watching this. This is his realm. He is attending and actively participating in coalition meetings,” said Nevrivy.
The associations’ concerns also are based on the timing of the ordinance and the potential precedent it could set throughout the state.
“There are currently 118 multi-family properties on the market in New Britain,” Nevrivy said. “That’s a lot. It’s more than were on the market last year at this time. We have clients who have had properties on the market already. Additional fees are not going to help.
“The last four years or so have been really challenging. Property values have already come down as a result of short sales and foreclosure properties. This is one more step that makes it more difficult for our clients to sell their properties. Adding fees doesn’t brighten the picture,” she added.
Nevrivy said she is unaware of any other municipality in Connecticut which has singled out landlords for additional fees.
“We are concerned about the precedent that could be set here as are the clients we represent,” she said. The topic was discussed at a recent breakfast held for legislators. “It’s not something we want to see pop up in other communities either,” Nevrivy added.
The associations’ other concerns include increasing housing costs.
“These fees discourage affordable work force housing. Most landlords will pass along the prices of fees to renters,” she added.
As for claims the fee will help blighted properties, Nevrivry said she does understand those statements. “It seems to me that property owners who are already facing challenges in this economy are not likely to be encouraged by paying additional fees. I believe there are other ways to address both blight and true budget concerns in a broader manner,” she added.
The realtors associations plan to continue to monitor the situation and support the coalition’s efforts to abolish the fees. “Six of us attended the initial hearing although only two of us got to speak,” Nevrivry.
“We’re very involved,” said Nevrivry. “We support the coalition’s effort to challenge the fees in court,” she added.